First and foremost, Imogen Heap is an amazing musician. Her music possesses such ambience and cinematic quality that is rare. And though each song may not be packed with a sense of urgency, each song is individually alive, endowed with a unique essence and beauty that permeates the listener. As the reigning queen of the “digital age," she released her third album, “Ellipse” (24 August 2009 in the UK, 25 August 2009 in the USA). Her voice, once again, touches the soul and something about her just affects a mood so deeply. Every noise she makes, every note she sings, is a study in the manipulation of noise and sound into melody.
It is hard to sum of the music of Imogen Heap with a label; she composes from a point of reference that is hard to define. Add to that a distinctive voice that has the ability to affect mood and transmit emotions subtly, her music is instantly infectious. And true to her style, or that is the lack of a definable style, “Ellipse” continues her maturity and growth as an artist, with craftsmanship that is distinct, but as ingenious, as her previous material.
There’s something homey and honest about this album (even the track titles sound earthy). Perhaps this is because she has chosen to write from a personal point of view, like in the first track, “First Train Home,” a literal narrative of she experienced. Imogen is thoroughly descriptive, a simple situation and mood like rushing to catch a train can literally be described with lines as beautiful as “It's just an echo game, irises retreating to ovals of white. The urge to feel your face, and blood rushing to paint my handprint.” Once you know that she was just trying to catch a train to go home, you realize just how deep her bond with her music is. The second single, “Canvas,” is pure imagery and figurative language relating life with painting a picture on a canvas – the age old question: does life reflect art, or does art reflect life. Not only does she know how to capture the imagery but also she writes it as a skilled poet.
But under all this craftsmanship, there lies something that is often ignored with Imogen Heap: she has this instinctive understanding of human nature and emotions. Her deep understand of music, her ability to compose this indescribable emotive soundscape stems from her understanding the inner chords of being human. “Ellipse” is no different in this way; easily one of those albums to die for, what will entrance you, what will infect your consciousness, is the music’s ability to juxtapose you into its reality and just how similar it is to yours.
1. First Train Home
2. Wait It Out
4. Little Bird
7. Between Sheets
9. Bad Body Double
11. The Fire
13. Half Life
14. Not Now But Soon – Bonus Japanese Track
15. First Train Home – Instrumental Bonus Track
16. Wait It Out – Instrumental Bonus Track
17. Earth – Instrumental Bonus Track
18. Little Bird – Instrumental Bonus Track
19. Swoon – Instrumental Bonus Track
20. Tidal – Instrumental Bonus Track
21. Between Sheets – Instrumental Bonus Track
22. 2-1 – Instrumental Bonus Track
23. Bad Body Double – Instrumental Bonus Track
24. Aha! – Instrumental Bonus Track
25. The Fire – Instrumental Bonus Track
26. Canvas – Instrumental Bonus Track
27. Half Life – Instrumental Bonus Track
Keep up with Imogen Heap at her homepage, MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter.
Here is her video for “First Train Home” from her YouTube Channel: imogenheap.